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Ben O'Connor suspended for two games

Steelers' defenseman receives suspension for Cross Checking

An incident occurred in Guildford on Sunday 2 February involving Sheffield Steelers' #81 Ben O’Connor on Guildford Flames' #18 Brett Ferguson for which a 5 minute Major and Game Misconduct for a Cross Check call was assessed by the Referee.

The incident was reviewed by the EIHL Department of Player Safety which determined supplementary discipline is required under Category 2 – ‘Reckless’ – a deliberate and/or dangerous action with no concern for the result, with a conscious action to provoke through intent and a willful purpose.  Injury is not the determining factor, but can be considered as influential means to the decision.

As the video shows, Guilford Flames are in possession of the puck skating through the neutral zone towards the Guilford attacking zone. With the puck location on the opposite side of the ice from the area of the infraction caused by Sheffield Steelers #81 Ben O’Connor, the incident has nothing to do with a play on the puck or regard for the play.

What is not apparent on the video are the actions of either player before the cross check incident occurred from O’Connor on Ferguson. However, through a report by the game official, Ferguson did nothing worthy of supplementary discipline before being cross checked by O’Connor. Regardless, a player is not permitted to take illegal or dangerous actions on an opposing player.

The reason for supplementary discipline is that O’Connor, with no regard for the puck or the play, made an illegal cross check action directed at Ferguson. Ferguson had no way of protecting himself. The stick and hands of O’Connor were raised in a manner that it is deemed targeted at the area of Ferguson’s head. In addition, O’Connor, when raising his stick to the head area of Ferguson, extended his arms in a direct motion towards Ferguson’s head. This type of action is deemed reckless and endangering with a high risk of causing an injury. 

O’Connor must have a regard for the puck and play, and must refrain from retaliatory, reckless actions through the use of his stick.

Effective immediately, Sheffield Steelers #81 Ben O’Connor is fined and suspended for two games.

Key References:

  • Cross Checking
  • Reckless and endangering
  • Directed at head area of opposing player
  • Category 2 - Reckless

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